A week after declaring he was “nowhere”, Daniel Ricciardo has turned his attention to Baku after his “miserable” 12th place finish in Monte Carlo and believes his McLaren car has “good potential”.
The Australian, who is eighth on the standings on 24 points, has had an up and down season since his move from Renault.
After rising up the grid and finishing sixth in Barcelona, Ricciardo was unable to find any sort of grove in Monaco and was jumped at the start by Kimi Raikkonen and was eventually lapped by Lance Stroll.
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But after spending time in the McLaren simulator, the Aussie said he was feeling confident ahead of his return to Baku, where he won in 2017.
“Monaco wasn’t my weekend but I’m looking to bounce back. It’s been important to take time to reset and refocus before heading to Baku,” the 31-year-old said.
“The team and I have been working hard in the sim to understand, analyse and pinpoint the key areas we need to improve.
“We know the car has good potential, we just need to put all pieces together to unlock it.”
Ricciardo said he was still adapting to the change of car, as he attempts to “feel as one” with it.
“There’s still that element of adapting to a new car which I’m sure will come with the more time and mileage behind the wheel,” he said.
“I’m going to keep working at it, build on the progress we made in Portugal and Spain and try to feel as one with the car.”
While Ricciardo’s past two ventures to the Baku have ended with frustrating accidents, including colliding with then-Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in 2018, he has form in Azerbaijan too.
In 2016, he finished second after starting in seventh and a year later he won from 10th.
On Wednesday, the straight-shooting Aussie was speaking confidently of returning to form.
“Baku is a really cool street circuit and one of those races where potentially anything could happen,” he said.
“The track is known for having one of the longest straights on the calendar with three cars being able to run side-by-side as you head into Turn 1. Hopefully we can get the car into the right window from the off on Friday and have a solid weekend.”